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Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Stranger in Harpoon Bay by Bruce Cooke

Stranger in Harpoon Bay by Bruce Cooke
Publisher: Desert Breeze Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery/Suspense
Length: Short (130 pages)
Heat: Spicy
Rating: 4 Books
Reviewed by Stephantois

When a man is washed up on a rocky outcrop, he awakes without his memory in the Harpoon Bay hospital, a small town in economic trouble.

He is named Rocky Smith and as he tries to build a new life with no memory of his past, he finds love and friendship. Realizing he has a strong business sense, he turns the town around and becomes a hero. Just as he finds a new love in Penny Reynolds he learns he is really Terry Phillips, a man wanted by the police as a suspected bank robber and murderer. Worse there is a crime king who wants him dead after he gets back the one million dollars stolen in the robbery.

Rocky and Penny leave for the Gold Coast to find the truth and try to clear his mind but there is more trouble than he ever dreamed on waiting for him.

A man washes up on the shore at Harpoon Bay. He has extensive head injuries and is in a coma. When he wakes up he can’t remember what happened to him, how he fell into the ocean or even who he is. He becomes known as Rocky. One of the nurses overseeing his care is Penny Reynolds whose own husband died in a boating accident three years ago. She thinks he resembles her late husband and takes an instant liking to him. She offers him a place to stay while he gets his life sorted out. The two fall in love but something in Rocky’s past is about to put an end to their happy ever after.

The opening of this novel grabbed my attention. I wondered who this man was, how he got into the water, what was going to happen to him. Initially I thought this book might be more mystery than romance, but Cooke does a great job with balancing the romance and mystery to make this the ideal book for romantic suspense fans.

I loved the characters of Rocky and Penny. The mystery part of this book not only kept me wondering what was going to happen next but how it was going to impact their relationship.

I haven’t read many books set in Australia and Cooke’s description of this small community on the Gold Coast and its surrounds transported me there. I also felt it added another layer to the plot.

The dialogue is natural sounding and the secondary characters are well developed which not only added more color, but made me feel I was actually in Australia.

Cooke throws in a nice plot twist just as you think things are about to become plain sailing for Penny and Rocky. If you like romance with a heavy dose of mystery, put this on your to read list.